PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL – With Michael VanDerLaan and John VanDerLaan each shooting a one-under par 71, Jacob Penny and John Coultas turning in scores of 72 and 73, and Christian Anderson adding his name to the list of eagles, Florida Southern wrapped up play in the GolfRank Invitational with a 287 that put the Moccasins third in the final tournament standings.
The third-ranked Moccasins were at or under par in all three rounds at PGA National, with scores of 288 (E) and 286 (-2) on Monday preceding their 287 (-1) on Tuesday. Only once during the tournament did any of their five golfers turn in a score over 74, a feat unmatched by even the two teams ahead of them, top-ranked West Florida and sixth-ranked Florida Tech. The Moccasins also counted nothing worse than a 74, again the best such figure in a tournament that featured five of the top six ranked teams in Division II, and six of the top-10.
Largely on the strength of an opening round 274, West Florida won the GolfRank Invitational with a record score of -19, though Florida Southern matched the Argonauts in round two and was within two shots in round three. Florida Tech blistered the course on Tuesday with a 276 to finish second, 15 shots behind West Florida, and the Moccasins were 16 off the pace. No other team was closer than 25 shots.
Florida Southern's top golfers on Tuesday were the VanDerLaan brothers with their scores of 71. They got their in different ways, with John playing 17 of his 18 holes under-par or even, and Michael picking up a team-best six birdies with five bogeys. That was enough to put all five Moccasins in the top-20 for the first time in 12 years. The last such instance came at the 2006 NCAA Regional Tournament in Oklahoma where Greg Koch (6th), Marc France (9th), Blake Holbrook (9th), Brett Blondell (12th) and Tim Reed (19th) accomplished it while winning the regional title.
John VanDerLaan's final score of 213 (-3) put him in sixth place, three shots behind a trio of West Florida golfers who all shot six-under par 210. Jacob Huizinga won the 3-way playoff against Henry Westmoreland and Chandler Blanchet for medalist honors, while Florida Tech's Gaelen Trew and Keiser's Jack Dyer tied for fourth at four-under par 212.
Coultas tied for 11th with an even-par 216 after his 73 on Tuesday, and Penny was one stroke behind him at 217, in 17th place. Penny's four birdies were second for Florida Southern in the final round, and tied for second on the team with Coultas in the tournament. Anderson tied for 18th with a 218 after shooting a 74 Tuesday, and picked up the Mocs' third eagle of the tournament when he converted on the par-5 No. 10.
Florida Southern's next tournament will be the Copperhead Championship at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club, hosted by West Florida, March 16-17.